I’m not sure where to begin with this topsy-turvy edition of RAW. Last week, I felt that WWE delivered their best show in a long time. I went so far at the time to say that it was the best edition of RAW top to bottom that they ever put on. I can’t remember all the Attitude Era editions of RAW, but there was probably a better episode of RAW somewhere along the line. But, last week’s RAW was easily a 10/10 show.
Now, we get to last night’s edition that was marred by a somber tone that Triple H’s opening promo. If that wasn’t bad enough it’s possible that two talents were injured by just sloppy ring work. There were a few highlights in the show, but overall it was just an average show.
Segment: Triple H/Undertaker Promo
The night started off with Triple H’s long-winded promo that lacked any type of intensity or humor that Triple H used to be known for. Sure, he made a few jokes at John Laurinaitis’ expense, but it’s such an easy target that it came off as lazy. After ten long minutes of Triple H rambling on, he finally got to the point turned down the Undertaker’s silent challenge for WrestleMania. As Triple H made his way to the back, the Undertaker used his mystical powers to hijack control of the video truck and have a package played which contained the impressive tagline of “This is not over”.
Analysis: The main question to ask yourself after watching any promo is twofold: 1)Did it get over the match? 2)Are you looking forward to what’s next? In this case, the long promo got across its intended message. Triple H’s main point was that although he lost the match to Undertaker last year (and in WrestleMania X-7), he won the war because Undertaker had to be taken out on a cart. Undertaker fired back that he doesn’t want to be remembere by the fans as a broken down old lug, and that he needs to restore his reputation as a badass. It’s an easy story to tell. One guy feels he has nothing to prove and the other wants a chance to restore himself to his former glory. For the Undertaker, it’s a matter of pride. All I can say is enjoy the ride between these two. Both of them are great professionals, and I’m sure they’ll both bring their A game come April 1st.
However, what this promo also did in its meticulous and plodding pace was take a hot crowd out of the show before it even started. It was a solid 15 minutes of essentially Triple H alone in the ring and three video packages. The Triple H of 2012 is not the same Triple H of 1999. Yet, Triple H is the boss and who’s going to tell him that he just doesn’t have what it takes as a promo guy anymore?
Match One: Daniel Bryan (World Champion) vs. The Big Show
Analysis: For what it was, I liked it. Sure, it was a standard affair of Bryan using his speed and trying to chop the big man down. It’s a solid story to tell. I’m also tired of people putting down Big Show. The guy has paid his dues, suffered demotions, battled injuries, and much more. He’s a professional. In hopes of entertaining you, the jaded fan, he’s taken bumps that someone half his side hasn’t. At nearly 500 pounds, he’s done dropkicks, flying elbows off the top, and broken a few rings by taking a dangerous spot for a man his size to take in a SuperPlex. He’s also had to put up with being involved in a few horrible gimmick matches in WrestleMania simply to entertain you. You think he wanted to do a Sumo match against Akibono? You think he wanted to be involved in the Mayweather storyline (maybe)? The fact is, shut up and realize Big Show is a guy that gives his all despite his limitations in the ring.
This match had a weird ending with Bryan simply walking away and getting counted out. I’m not sure what WWE was trying to accomplish with this match. Sure, you have to protect both guys going into the Elimination Chamber, but that could have been done in so many different ways. I’m also not a fan of Bryan’s vegan gimmick or AJ being involved in the storyline. Just a 1 star match that never really got out of 1st gear.
Match Two: David Otunga vs. Sheamus
Just a basic squash. Sheamus hasn’t been involved in an important program in nearly a year now. Yes, he won the Royal Rumble and he’s going to WrestleMania for the title shot. But, all he’s been doing is squashing Jinder Mahal and now Otunga. WWE has a hot property in Sheamus, but the fan base could get real tired in waiting around and getting excited about Sheamus. I think his Road to WrestleMania might begin after the Elimination Chamber.
Segment: Chris Jericho Promo & face-off with CM Punk
Analysis: Chris Jericho is one of the best talkers in this or any other era. He proved it again tonight by making believable points. It’s unquestionable that he is one of the best in the world today. It was a basic heel promo. It wasn’t ground breaking by any means, but it got across what it wanted. I also liked Punk coming out and not saying a word to Jericho. And, Jericho’s reaction was classic. He sold his anger well at Punk’s silence. I’m patiently waiting for more.
Match Three: Cody Rhodes & Wade Barrett vs. Randy Orton & The Great Khali
Analysis: It was just a segment to get across the Elimination Chamber and that these guys will be enemies once the cage door closes. Still, I don’t like seeing Khali on my TV. He’s in bad shape, and for his own good he should just stay away from the screen. And, in contrast to the Big Show, the guy’s just not mobile. I get the “Attraction” aspect to his character. I just think it’s dangerous to put him out there in his condition. I also hate seeing the Intercontinental Champion getting jobbed out so easily (big chop or not). Rhodes and Barrett have a future in the company; The Great Khali does not.
Match Four: Divas 8 Woman Tag
Meh. WWE doesn’t give a crap about this division, why should I? It looks like Tamina is getting a push Somewhere during this match, Eve broke her nose when Beth Phoenix caught her with a clothsline. Jack Doan put on the gloves and Eve made a quiet exit from the match. The sloppiness would continue later on.
Match Five: Six Pack Challenge – CM Punk, R Truth, Dolph Ziggler, Chris Jericho, The Miz, and Kofi Kingston – Winner is #6 in the RAW Elimination Chamber.
Having six guys in the ring is just a recipe for a sloppy match. The low point of the match came when R Truth went for a flip over the top and Miz just flat out refused to catch him. He had enough time. He was in position. He simply allowed Truth to thud to the floor. According to Joey Styles, he’s okay, but that was a very close call, and all because a guy didn’t do his job. Unacceptable especially at this level.
As far as the match, it had a great ending sequence with Jericho proving to be the smarter man and get the win out of nowhere. He’s so good at being a heel that most people love to hate, but he’s so good. I also liked how he sat in the ring a la Punk with the title. Good ending sequence to out the exclamation point on the story for its first week.
Closing Segment: Creepy Kane assaults Eve
This was just too similar to the creepy Heidenreich/Michael Cole segment from years ago. Sure, it puts over Kane as a threat and someone who might cross the line and possibly attack a woman just to make a point. But, it just reminded me of the rape scene from American History X too much. It wasn’t exactly PG in my book.
What I liked:
- The opening segment’s video package. WWE’s video production has always been top notch.
- Jericho/Punk stare down.
- Jericho wrestling his 1st match back on free TV. Welcome back, Y2J
What I disliked:
- Bryan walking out on a match.
- Sheamus being wasted in squash matches.
- No Brodus Clay or US Champion, Jack Swagger.
- The Six Pack Challenge Concept – too chaotic
What I hated (and wouldn’t have done):
- Showing the WrestleMania promotional videos during the RAW broadcast. They were shown during the Rumble, last week, and again this week. We get it, Cena and Rock are wonderful guys. I wouldn’t mind it so much if they actually produced a new video.
- Recapping the Undertaker’s promo. I get why they did it. Just in case someone tuned in late (at 10:37pm) and missed it. But, it was a 2 minute package that after two viewings lost a bit. It’s annoying having to sit through all that again.
Overall: Like I wrote, it was a roller coaster show. It certainly wasn’t a bad show, but not a very good one either. It gets a 6.5/10 from me this week.